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Brenda – Huntfield Heights, SA

I have worked in aged care for at least 20 years as a careworker. I love my job.

About my Mum: She had Alzheimer’s among other things. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was to find a placement for her. My family and I were lost in the paperwork!  In the end, the decision was taken away from my family when Mum had an accident and ended up needing an urgent high care placement. Part of the problem was that Mum had a little bit of money…under $60,000.

This meant that she was a partially self-funded pensioner. What a nightmare!  Mum went into a nursing home that she chose…she watched it being built. The new building didn’t make up for the poor standard of care given… this was mainly due to the lack of staffing. My family became pests because, as a big family, one of us was always there! When there was no staff available: we fed Mum; we showered her; we toileted her; we entertained her. Bless her cotton socks-she WAS a handful. On the ACFI scale she was high high care with a bullet!  She brought in money for the highest category. She died 3 years ago. I miss her.

I work in a low care dementia unit and it’s the most loving, caring place. But even there the stress caused by funding is getting worse…the staff are constantly under pressure to account for their every move so that nothing is missed when we need to go begging for the funds to look after our most precious. I also work in other low care areas within the complex.  More and more high care clients are being looked after in low care WITHOUT extra staff allocated OR with carers whose 1st. language is not English, and who have been pushed through the system too quickly AND cannot read. This also means that they cannot understand or be understood.

Considering the cost of a placement in an aged care facility, the very least that one expects is to be cared for by people who understand what’s needed! The place that I work does have ongoing training on site, but staff are still the main tutors for new members. By the way…when I retire, I won’t be able to afford to go into care. My “super” won’t cover my first year of retirement!

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